Mourners light candles for June 4 despite police ban

Hundreds of people on Friday defied a police ban on entering Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown before they were quickly told to leave.

For the first time, the force closed off the park on a June 4 anniversary, citing powers they have under the Public Order Ordinance. Police said at least six people were arrested and 12 were given tickets for alleged breaches of social distancing rules.

The crowd swelled at around 8pm when they tried to observe a moment of silence on the outskirts of the park.

Some lit real candles or LED versions, while others flashed mobile phone lights.

The mourners were quickly surrounded by police and ushered away.

Officers also put up flags, warning that those on hand could be prosecuted for an unlawful assembly.

The crowd then scattered.

One of the mourners, surnamed Chan, brought flowers with her as she tried to stay outside the park to observe a moment of silence.

Officers told her to leave or risk getting arrested.

“They warned me three times that, ‘You need to take away the flowers.’ I’m just mourning the deaths of Tiananmen Square, I don’t know why they can’t even accommodate the tiny flowers,” Chan told reporters.

“We have enjoyed freedom of speech for many, many years. However, this has just totally vanished.”

Others got into shouting matches with police as they were told to leave.

Police said people in Percival Street began to block traffic by shouting and throwing objects into the road at about 9pm. They were urged to disperse. A small number of police had cordoned off parts of Causeway Bay and remained at the scene after midnight.

From Friday afternoon, officers sealed off much of Victoria Park, saying they had seen online appeals for people to gather there despite a ban for the candlelight vigil.

The park’s football pitches, basketball courts, the central lawn and nearby paths were closed, with a heavy police presence in Causeway Bay and Tin Hau.

In Mong Kok, police arrested at least one activist from the group Student Activism.

Wong Yat-chin was trying to set up a street booth on Soy Street to talk about the bloodshed when he was detained.

It’s not immediately clear what he was accused of.

Dozens of people also marched on the busy streets in the area, some chanting pro-Hong Kong independence slogans.

That prompted police to issue warnings that they may be violating the national security law.
Last updated: 2021-06-05 HKT 00:48